Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

The Select Board plans to meet with Verizon and Eversource representatives to discuss why 114 double utility poles in Arlington still don’t comply with state law concerning the replacement of existing poles.

Double poles occur when an old, damaged utility pole is tied to a new pole intended to replace the damaged one. They are an eyesore and can cause potential accessibility issues.

At its Jan. 10 meeting, board Chair Steve DeCourcey cited some progress – Verizon reports that the number of double poles in Arlington has decreased from 148 in October 2020 to 114 last October. But “questions remain on the completeness of this report,” he said.

“Verizon filed this list of remaining double poles to Arlington’s Department of Public Works, so it’s a matter of public record. We’d like the public to reach out to us, so we can contact Verizon, which has the responsibility to contact the other companies when they’re responsible for their poles,” added DeCourcey.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said he will either assign a staff person to collect resident input, or have a mailbox for residents to send feedback.

The board may also look into inviting our legislative delegation to this meeting once the companies respond.

Board member Eric Helmuth said he appreciates Verizon’s response. “When multiple parties are involved, one company can say they’re awaiting the other parties. Having this meeting and inviting citizens to help track this is a good idea.”

Board to discuss BLM banner

The Select Board has agreed to resume and complete its discussion of the town’s Black Lives Matter banner at the Jan. 25 meeting. A vote is scheduled. 

The board decided Jan. 10 to create a subcommittee to look into this issue.

This decision is in response to a letter to the board from Precinct 8 Town Meeting member Elizabeth Dray, who requested that the board “heed Town Meeting’s unequivocal vote regarding return of the Black Lives Matter banner to Town Hall.”

Dray’s letter, signed by 58 additional people, also stated that “hanging the banner in a public place associated with our Town government is important; gives notice to all who see it—whether marginalized or privileged, resident, visitor, or business owner—that Arlington has made a commitment to uncovering systemic racism; and that our commitment is ongoing.” 

At the meeting, Dray again asked that town leadership to determine when and where the banner can be displayed, to affirm that Black Lives Matter every day and in Arlington.

During the meeting’s open forum session, Precinct 11 Town Meeting member Lynette Culverhouse also expressed decided support for displaying the banner. 

Board member John Hurd said, “Our discussion will focus on how we use Town Hall. Once we come up with these guidelines, we’ll have policy going forward.” 

Member Eric Helmuth said: “It would be good to close the loop on this discussion." 

Watch the whole Jan. 10 meeting on ACMi:

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.